Thursday, February 15, 2007

NASCAR cheating common: Michael Waltrip penalized for fuel-tampering; his crew chief fined and suspended

A NASCAR cheating scandal that has already snared four racing teams has now spread to include two-time winner Michael Waltrip and his crew chief, David Hyder, just days before the running of the Daytona 500, Sports Illustrated reported.

Waltrip was "docked" 100 points and will be allowed to race on Thursday in trials that determine poll positions for Sunday. His chief Hyder was banished from the garage and fined $100,000.00. Team captain Bobby Kennedy was also sent packing.

A "substance found in jet fuel" was found in his Toyota's engine during a preliminary inspection. His car has now been "ripped to pieces" and he is scrambling to find another car with which to compete.

The day before the super-oxygenate was found in Waltrip's car, crew chiefs for 2003 champion Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Scott Riggs and Elliott Sadler were suspended. The drivers were docked points, something NASCAR has never done before the season begins.

Waltrip denied responsibility, saying in a written statement "This is not the action of an organization, a manufacturer or a sponsor. This was an independent act done without consent or authorization from me or any of my executive management team."

This is the first fuel-tampering that has been penalized since 2000, but several rival team members said that other forms of cheating are common in NASCAR.

Oh, yeah. The Scottish Rite picked a great sport to sponsor.

Image: Dick Dastardly, © Hanna-Barbera

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